We're coming, but all the negativity has us worried
I've been lurking on this board for nearly two years. My family and I were going to move down about a year ago, but decided the time was not right. About a month ago we were down and a business opportunity presented itself to us and we've decided to give it a go.
We've got a couple of things going for us that most posters to this board don't - My wife is West Indian (born and raised) and we have lots of family still living there. Also, we've been there more times than I can count on two hands and never stayed in a hotel, always stayed with family and did the shopping, Post Office etc.. kind of stuff. So we (I) know what the island is like from a non tourist point of view. However with the recent tone of the board we have gotten worried (it seems as if living there is absolutely miserable).
We have two boys (1st & 4th grades) that we will have to send to public school. We are pretty sure we've managed to secure spots at Sibilly. My wife won't be working so she can devote a good portion of her time volunteering at the school. Teresa, could you give me your opinions on Sibilly.
The ball has already started rolling, so pulling out now is not an option. The main reason we're moving is for the business opportunity, not island life. We would be moving to podunkville, USA if we had the same opportunity.
I don't really have a specific question, I guess I just need a little realistic reassurance that this is going to be ok.
Thanks for listening,
Kelly - all will be well. Keep reading the posts, many of which stress the positives. Cheers!
Teresa is leaving/has left the island, in large part because she could not obtain the education for her children that she wanted them to have. She was happier with Sibilly than any of the other options she tried but not happy enough to stay.
Living here is "absolutely miserable" for some but certainly not for all. You will have a family network for support, which should help tremendously. Folks on this board can provide you with the reassurance you seek but it won't mean much because we don't have to live with you if we're wrong 😉 I can tell you that my family and I are happy here.
Don't know where all the negativity is coming from. I've been here six years and still loving it. A little too hot this time of year but I would much rather endure a little heat than a foggy San Francisco summer or a brutally cold Minnesota winter.
BTW, I don't think Teresa actually ended up enrolling the kids in Sibilly (they lived on the East End didn't they?). So that may be something to consider. I do know parents who LOVE Sibilly and their children are smart and well-adjusted. I belive they also have a website of you do a Google search.
Glad to see that and Ava have made the move. we are still 3 years behind.
Did you take your Harley?
Terry and Annie
Everything will be well. Your previous experiences with living here like a resident instead of a tourist puts you leaps and bounds ahead of folks like Teresa, who wanted very much to be content here. Compared to your background, Teresa and others who have decided this wasn't a good match for them came here with almost no time or experience in life here as a non-vacationer. Others seem to have come with notions that their lives here we be similar enough to living on another island like PR, and (IMO) never quite adjusted to the very abundant differences in culture, urbanization, lack of access to a variety familiar establishments/malls and such, how tiny and out of the way these islands really are (esp. re: cost of travelling back and forth to the mainland), and realities of living in a place with a high poverty level and that has only been self-governing for a relatively brief period of time.
I had only spent two weeks (one each on STT and STX) before we moved here. We came with our eyes open and our attitudes positive and flexible. Two plus years later we love it even more than we did when we arrived, have had none of the negative experiences others have discussed, and burst with pride when we tell everyone we meet on-island and off that we've never found more-welcoming people who made us feel at home anywhere else we've lived.
Be aware that a dark side exists here just as much as it does everywhere else, but don't fall into a trap of believing that it's more than possible to not be sucked in to or taken down by it.
Come on down with a smile, sense of adventure and willingness to adapt to the realities that make it clear this isn't the US, or PR, and isn't ever likely to be, and you'll be off to a great start toward a very positive and fulfilling new life.
I thought Teresa had switched her kids from Peace Corps School to Sibilly but I can't remember why I have that impression so I'm likely wrong. Thanks for setting the record straight.
Thanks for all of your replies. I know our happiness ultimately lies in our own hands but just need a little positive re-enforcement. dntw8up, I too thought Teresa had switched her kids to Sibilly. Terry, thanks for the encouragement. We haven't moved yet. Selling the house, figuring out shipping, tying up loose ends etc.. We hope to arrive on island by the first of October.
Thanks again everyone,
Hello there! As I have mentioned on the board before, I moved here for health reasons. I always thought I would retire in a warm multicultural climate, but when push came to shove, this seemed like the best bet. I did not have extensive experience with the island as you have had, but have found that by meeting warm and welcoming people, and befriending the 'can doers' I have had one of the best years of my life.
I hold no illusions that this is perfection on every level, however any challenges that have come up have been dealt with using the advice of others, and (not to sound too much like pollyanna) many of these challenges have actually turned into opportunities.
I have good friends from multiple cultural backgrounds, continually find it interesting and in terms of my health, have found the people in general to be extremely supportive. Today, I had the dubious task of buying 50 pounds of cat litter for my house mate. I had no idea how it was going to get from the store to my car. I never said a word, and some delightful man came up with a cart, brought it out, put it in my car and would not accept a thank you tip.
I don't ever remember that happening in Connecticut or South Carolina.
In short, I love my new home more and more each day, and do consider this home. Other places are just where I lived on the path of life to get here. I have no intention of leaving, know there will be future challenges, but will face those challenges as just a part of the small price I pay to live here.
I hope that is 'upbeat' enough to support your moving. It is also very true as I would never mislead anyone. Although I do not know about the schools first hand, I do read constantly and know that they are trying very hard indeed to both bring up the quality of the structures and the education.
Everyone pretty much has my story straight! 🙂 I don't even need to post anymore. Hee hee.
My kids were originally in Peace Corp Elementary on the North side. We moved to Frenchman's and worked in Havensight, so driving the kids to the North side and battling traffic (yes we have traffic here) to get to work was getting tough. Peace Corp (now renamed) was not a good fit for us - so it made sense to try a different school. We transferred them to Lockhart Elementary. I love the principal there and liked the teachers. Our problem was getting my daughter's needs (delayed educational needs) met at Lockhart. Also, my son made no friends at school and was not enjoying it at all. I have to say (even though I hate too) that it mattered that my kids were different from their classmates. In my kid's classes, the classmates were all born and raised on St. Thomas and from culture differences to language differences, it was very hard for my kids to fit in. Not necessarily a skin color issue either. I met a mom whose kids couldn't fit in at Lockhart either. She was Latino and her kids spoke Spanish first, English second, and understood very little local accent (Calypso?), so she pulled her kids and put them in a private school thru her church.
I was transferring my kids to Sibilly for this fall's semester, however we are moving before school starts so I don't have experience with Sibilly, but I can tell you I was impressed by Sibilly from just checking it out this last school year. I feel strongly that my kids would have had a much better experience at Sibilly and had we stayed on island - we would have a better year and enjoy things more.
We are leaving now as opposed to later because of opportunity. We started looking for new options, because I was fed up and frustrated with the school system, but on the flip side I think life would have been okay with Sibilly. It is really difficult to explain as you can tell by my flip flop way of saying things.
In other words, Sibilly is a good school for transplants. If your children are in preschool, I would say that going to Peace Corp, Lockhart, or Sibilly would be fine from Kindergarten on up as the kids would already be used to the island and language etc.
It sounds like you are coming with eyes open and plans made for kids and yourself. I don't for see you having as many difficulties as other transplant (for lack of better word) parents. I try to post according to each individual's question and situation. We did enjoy our time here even if it was harder to live than other places. I have said many times that you have to plan weekends to go to a beach, pool, or something fun to remember why you moved here. Working, school, and errand running can be all you think about sometimes, so you have to remind yourself to be a tourist and stop and enjoy what the island has to offer. Have fun and I hope your move goes smoothly. Be sure and let us know!
Thank you Teresa for your insight. It is much appreciated!
Well, I just want to let you know that a lot of the "negativity" comes from people who need to vent about their experiences on the island. Don't forget about those who have GREAT experiences on the island who DON'T post every day on the board. I am an avid reader of the board, but rarely post. Have you ever noticed, many of the posters who have something "negative" to say, post a lot??? YOU make your experience and YOU are the ultimate judge. We've ALL read that living on an island is not easy, but don't let the "Negative Nancy's" in your life dictate your future. I am an easy going person and it is really hard to upset me. You'll always run into someone who has had a "bad experience" or say "it's just not working out". St. Croix is wonderful. I live here and work in NY and I constantly have to remind myself that I'm on island time. Don't even get me started on getting the internet hooked up!!! Read between the lines of some posters and don't take EVERYTHING to heart. What's easy to others is hard for some.
That's what I have to offer.
I've been here for a month and my husband's been here (STX) for 7 months. So far, the positives outweigh the negatives. I've moved from a large 4 bedroom home in a middle class neighborhodd in a tourist town to a one bedroom condo for financial reasons. The biggest reason being is that we are still paying our mortgage on the large house in the tourist town. Does it bring me down that living space has declined dramatically? A little (we could use a two bedroom place) but the positives outweigh the negatives. There is not as much to clean (big bonus) plus we have a cleaning lady that comes bi monthly, there is a community pool to use at our leisure, and we have met fantastic people right here where we live, plus for STX standards, the rent isn't bad at all. We work, take the kid to swimming lessons, go out to eat a couple times a week, swim every day, and go to the beach to swim and snorkel once a week. We are getting along quite nicely here in our new home of STX. I do miss some of the conveniences of being stateside but quality of life has definately gone up for us here in STX. We spend more time here doing things as a family. There are definately bumps in the road (literally and figuratively) but there are anywhere you care to name.
i too have been here (stx) a month and love it. so far i've had wonderful experiences with the locals (mainlanders and west indian). i've been very impresses with the helpfulness of the majority of the people i've come into contact with. i am still not used to waking up to such beauty (we came from brooklyn)...eating breakfast in the front yard while throwing the ball for our doggy before heading out for the day.
just keep in mind every place has its positives and negatives. it might be more common/easier to share the negatives...more than anything to obtain help from others who probably (hopefully) had a more positive experience. i just try to keep things into perspective. yes, the fridge did stop working and all of our stuff did go bad but the problem is now fixed (read new fridge)!
back to unpacking and good luck!
PS: nice spell check feature!